Perry touts record; Hutchinson attacks it

January 14, 2010 9:04:57 PM PST
Republican candidates running for governor met face-to-face for the first time Thursday night in Denton. Incumbent Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina argued over Perry's 10-year tenure as governor and who should lead the state into the future.

In an hour-long debate, there was lots of talk but really only one issue.

"Nobody gets confused that this is the best state in the nation to live in today," said Gov. Rick Perry.

Every time Gov. Perry tried to take credit for that, his opponents tried as hard as they could to prove otherwise. Most notably when Perry tried to tell Texans he had created jobs.

"While America was losing three million jobs, Texas was gaining 100,000 jobs," said Gov. Perry.

The truth is that Texas may have created the jobs Perry spoke of, but lost 300,000 others.

"We lost more jobs last year. That is not a record to be proud of," Sen. Hutchison said.

Sen. Hutchison who's behind in the polls knew she had to seize this moment to turn the race around.

"If we don't deal with problems in this state, we are not to remain the best state in America and hiding from it is not the way to make it better," said Sen. Hutchison.

The repeated attacks got at the governor.

"It really wears me out that there are two people on this stage that want to tear Texas down when we all know this is the state we want to live in," said Gov. Perry.

The wildcard in the race, virtual unknown Debra Medina, did enough to get her name and strict constitutionalist proposals out and prove to voters she is not what the other two are.

"I think Texas is ready for leadership and this squabbling isn't getting us anywhere," said Medina.

It's crowded on the Democratic side with seven candidates vying for that nomination. They include former Houston Mayor Bill White and businessman Farouk Shami. Right now, no debate has been set for the Democratic candidates.